The emergence of smarter borders

As EU “smart border” proposals are adopted, border agencies will need to adopt new technologies to facilitate travel in the fast lane.


With proposals for a formalized European Union (EU) registered traveler program and entry/exit system as part of its “smart borders” initiative, and the United States is considering revisions to existing immigration processes and requirements, a fundamental shift in the approach to border management is taking place across the world.

Proposed changes in border management processes offer a unique opportunity for border agencies to not only improve the experience of the vast majority of travelers and simplify life for the frequent flyer, but also to focus security efforts on the small minority of travelers who pose a risk or to whom entry or exit from a particular country should not be permitted. By fully exploiting the benefits of new border management technologies, border agencies can gain a consistency and completeness in border management, better support immigration programs and revitalize the traveler experience.


In addition to being challenged by limited human resources, physical space, and financing—not to mention the complexities of multiple entry points—border agencies are being asked to cope with a rapid increase in traveler numbers. Indeed, recent European Member States’ data shows that the rise in travelers entering and exiting through the European Union’s air borders alone is projected to increase by 80 percent to 720 million by 2030 (Source: European Commission press release, February 28, 2013).

The smart borders initiative can offer agencies the best of both worlds—the opportunity to create, more rapidly, satisfying traveler experiences and expedite screening initiatives without compromising on security. While frequent travelers are most likely to benefit from the smart border proposals, citizens and border agencies alike should welcome the benefits of life, and travel, in the fast lane.